Humanities › History & Culture A Quick Guide to the Vietnam War Share Flipboard Email Print Vietnam War, Tet Offensive: American soldiers in defensive position (1968). Department of Defense History & Culture Asian History Southeast Asia Basics Figures & Events East Asia South Asia Middle East Central Asia Asian Wars and Battles American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kallie Szczepanski History Expert Ph.D., History, Boston University J.D., University of Washington School of Law B.A., History, Western Washington University Dr. Kallie Szczepanski is a history teacher specializing in Asian history and culture. She has taught at the high school and university levels in the U.S. and South Korea. our editorial process Kallie Szczepanski Updated September 04, 2017 The Vietnam War began on November 1, 1955, and ended April 30, 1975. It lasted for 19 and 1/2 years. Although the bulk of the fighting took place in Vietnam, the war also spilled over into neighboring Laos and Cambodia in the early 1970s. Communist North Vietnamese forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, were allied with the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, and the Soviet Union. They faced an anti-communist coalition made up of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the United States, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Laos. Troops Deployed and Outcomes North Vietnam and its allies deployed approximately 500,000 troops South Vietnam and its allies deployed 1,830,000 (peak in 1968). The North Vietnamese army and their Viet Cong allies won the war. The United States and other foreign nations withdrew their troops by March 1973. The South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to the communist forces on April 30, 1975. Estimated Total Deaths: South Vietnam - approximately 300,000 soldiers dead, up to 3,000,000 civilians North Vietnam + Viet Cong - approximately 1,100,000 soldiers dead, up to 2,000,000 civilians Cambodia - 200,000 or more civilians dead United States - 58,220 dead Laos - approximately 30,000 dead South Korea - 5,099 dead People's Republic of China - 1,446 dead Thailand - 1,351 dead Australia - 521 dead New Zealand - 37 dead Soviet Union - 16 dead. Major Events and Turning Points: Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 2 and 4, 1964. My Lai Massacre, March 16, 1968. Tet Offensive, January 30, 1968. Large Anti-war Protests Begin in US, October 15, 1969. Kent State Shootings, May 4, 1970. Fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975.